Persian Saffron Chicken
Updated: Feb 3
Saffron is a majestic spice that adds a slight sweet fragrance and beautifies most recipes. The spice is oil soluble and dissolves in the marinade, naturally dying the ingredients a brilliant golden-yellow hue. I'm drawn to the subtle effects the saffron has on this recipe even though it is only one added spice. The addition of cinnamon and nutmeg also boost the pleasurable qualities. The ease and flavorful benefits make this chicken marinade recipe a sure thing every time.
Soon after I was married I wanted to learn how to cook Persian food. I came across a very basic book and toyed with the recipe until I was delighted with all the ingredients and the overall savoriness. So, this became my recipe for Persian chicken kabobs. Depending on my time, the season and meal planning, I also bake the chicken in the oven with added vegetables. Either way, as kabobs or baked in the oven, the results are always the same, exquisitely fragrant and mouthwatering.
Wonderful choice for entertaining! Traditionally saffron chicken is served with rice and complements salads or a side dishes of choice. Anything goes!
3 tablespoons olive oil
a pinch of saffron, crushed using a mortar and pestle
½ tablespoon soy sauce or tamari
1½ tablespoons lemon juice
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground pepper
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
2 pounds chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 large onion, sliced into 1-inch pieces
1 pint small mushrooms, washed and halved, optional
1 green pepper, sliced into 1-inch pieces, optional
Preparation for Skewers or Baking in a Pan
1. For skewers: cut chicken into 1-inch cubes and place in a large bowl. For baking in a pan: Cut chicken into 2in.x2in. pieces and place in a large bowl.
2. Mix all marinade ingredients together in a measuring cup. Stir well and pour over chicken, onions and vegetables of choice. Vegetables can also be added to chicken before placing on skewers or baking in the pan. Best results if marinade sits at least 2 hours at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator.
3. For skewers: Thread chicken on skewer alternating with vegetables. Ready to grill! For baking in a pan: Preheat oven to 375ºF. Pour chicken and vegetables into baking pan and bake until meat is golden, about 25-30 minutes. Turn chicken and vegetables occasionally while baking.